School Improvement in Maryland

What are my rights and role as a parent of a child with disabilities?

As a parent, you play an active role throughout all stages of the special education process. You are a member of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team and are invited and encouraged to attend and participate in all IEP meetings held regarding your child. You have valuable knowledge and input about your child's learning and behavior that should be shared with the IEP team. You may want to prepare notes and write down any questions you have before you attend an IEP meeting. You may bring a friend or advocate who is familiar with your child to the IEP meeting. If you are unable to attend, other methods such as telephone or video conferencing can be arranged to ensure your participation.

What are my parental rights in the special education process?

Your child's school will give you a procedural safeguards document, which includes a full explanation of your special education parental rights in your native language. Parents are to receive the document one time per year, except the school is to give you another copy upon:

  • Initial referral or parental request for evaluation;
  • Receipt of the first State special education complaint in a school year;
  • Receipt of the first due process hearing request in a school year;
  • A decision is made to take a disciplinary action; and,
  • Parent request.

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team process encourages your full participation in the discussion and decisions made at all IEP meetings. If you have limited proficiency in English or are deaf, and need an interpreter, the IEP team must make reasonable efforts to arrange for an interpreter. It is important to make the IEP team know of your special needs in advance of an IEP meeting to allow for ample time to arrange for an interpreter.